No One Won in World War 1

ww1

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, bells rang around the world.

The war was over. The fighting had stopped. The boys were coming home.

Bells across the globe will toll again Sunday, 100 years after the signing of the Armistice and the end of World War I

In many large cities across Europe there is a pompous monument to the victims of 1 World War. Usually, this is the largest church in the city or a monument.
ww1HungaryGermany.ww1LondonHungary.ww1TurkeyGreat Britain.ww1FranceTurkey.

World War I oversimplified:

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That Freaking Robots!

robot

A video has emerged on Twitter showing a faceless yet worryingly realistic humanoid robot walking in what looks like a perfectly mundane courtyard. The trip down the uncanny valley caused some to proclaim an impending apocalypse.

The clip shows the stoop-backed robot making its way past the cameraman, with ominous music playing in the background. Its black and orange limbs, hi-tech-looking protrusions along its spine, and its hollowed out head all lend to the realism, bringing to mind Boston Dynamics’ latest scary creations. But then the camera zooms in on its face plate, and that’s where you might feel a slight urge to scream and run, because set in the near-featureless white mask are two moving, human-like eyes.

Naturally, some users’ reaction was “WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.”

It all ultimately turned out to be a false alarm: the mechanical monstrosity is just masterfully-done embedded CGI, one of the robots digitally created for ADAM, a series of post-apocalyptic sci-fi short films by director Neill Blomkamp, whose more widely-known creations are ElysiumDistrict 9and ChappieADAM was created with the Unity game engine and intended to showcase how to make high-quality image relatively on a budget. Blomkamp has already created a script for a longer ADAM movie, and was hoping the short films would help him secure funding.

Well, then. We aren’t ALL going to die, not immediately anyway… but eventually.

Source: Creepy realistic humanoid robot footage sends shivers through Twitter

Macaroni Art — Pastasutra

pastasutra

 Kama Sutra poses “Chopped Bamboo”,   “Magic Mountain”,   “Lying Lotus”,   “Sleeping Angel” and others recreated entirely from macaroni by  Sergey Pakhomov.

Pasta-artist (yes, he calls himself that way) Sergey Pakhomov from Perm, Russia) in protest against Facebook, censoring even the classic art masterpieces featuring nudity, created his own version of the Kama Sutra, using quite unusual media — macaroni. Boiled macaroni, I assume, since dry pasta isn’t pliable enough, although I haven’t found any references to the actual recipe.

The pasta-artist admits that he wasn’t all that much into the canonical Kama Sutra when he worked on the collection, but was guided primarily by his own experience and imagination. Just as any true artist should, I’m sure.

pastasutra4

“Dolphin”

pastasutra3

“Hidden Dragon”

“At some point, my friends began to complain that their posts, even with masterpieces of art, such as Rubens and Michelangelo, were removed, any hint of a naked body deem to hint on porn,” said Sergey. “Well, since I was already widely known in narrow circles (here Sergey uses mock expression widely used by Russians) as a pasta sculptor, I wanted to pillage these modern followers of the holy inquisition. Initially, it was not even a project, the name including. Just a couple of pasta figurines making love. I was sure that my posting of them would be removed and, possibly, I’ll be banned for a month or so. But half an hour passed, an hour, people seem to have understood and supported my venture. And then I crated some more pasta-sculptures. Later, the Erotic Museum of Yekaterinburg expressed interest and organized an exhibition of caricatures, featuring my Pastasutra among other works.” (my own rough translation from Russian here.)

pastasutra1

Venus de Milo made of macaroni. This figurine is outside the Pastasutra project.

The past-Venus above is a standalone “sculpture”, just as this one, a macaroni caricature of a military guy.

pastasutra5

Edible general

Currently, pasta-sculptor is working on a collection of macaroni-made retro vehicles.

Sergei considers October 25, the World Pasta Day, initiated by the World Pasta Congress of 40 pasta producers in 1995, as his professional holiday.

Should the pasta-sculptor consider switching to spaghetti, perhaps he might take up Pastafarianism as a religion. Just saying…

 

From Russia With Cyberpunk

cyberpunk2Cyberpunk, by Wiki definition, is a sub-genre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech” featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.cyberpunk3

The artist from Rostov-on-Don, Evgeny Zubkov, published series of cyberpunk works titled Russia 2077, where he showed what Russia would become in 60 years. In this reality, automation reaches the Russian province, but this does not save it from doom and hopelessness.

cyberpunk

The holographic plaque reads “Dear tenants! On October 15, 2077 water supply will be disconnected.”  

cyberpunk4

Lettering on the container: Robot Recycling

Russia 2077 is a project that represents a parallel reality, where the hypertrophied images of modern technologies contrast with ordinary landscapes and everyday reality of provincial Russia, the decorations of which seem to be stuck outside of time. There is a social context [in my work]. In provincial cities, life seems to be frozen. Cars and gadgets are changing, but the environment remains the same for decades. I wanted to elevate this idea to the level of absolute, to the point of absurdity.  — E. Zubkov.

cyberpunk1The source of this post is an article in medialeaks.ru, titled, roughly translated from Russian,  The cyberpunk we deserve. Russian artist depicts Russia in 2077, but the future did not become any brighter.

And then they danced, and danced, and danced…

dance1In the Year of Our Lord 1374, a deadly disease swept dozens of villages along the Rhine River — a dance plague. Hundreds of people on the streets jumped and curled their knees with no beat or music, except, probably, that in the dancers’ head. They danced, sometimes for many days in a row, until their broken feet refused to hold them. Many died of exhaustion, stroke or heart attack.

Another instance of the dancing plague (or dance epidemic or dancing mania) occurred in StrasbourgAlsace, in the Holy Roman Empire in July 1518. Around 400 people took to dancing for days without rest and, over the period of about one month, some of those affected collapsed or died.danceInterestingly, the Strasbourg authorities first decided to let folks dance all they want, hoping for a spontaneous cure.  Two dance halls were opened in the city and a wooden stage was erected. Musicians were also invited to liven up the strange event.

Very soon it became clear that the measures undertaken did not lead to an improvement in the situation. In response, the authorities banned any and all entertainment in the city, save none, including gambling and prostitution.

Many theories were presented over time to explain the cause of the dancing plaque, most prevalent of which was severe food poisoning. The article in Wikipedia gives scientific names to every suspect poison.

John Waller, professor of the history of medicine at Michigan State University,  does not agree with the poison version, however, since in both cases the symptom of the ailment was dancing rather than convulsions. In his book A Time to Dance, a Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518 Waller proposes his own theory: the dancing plague were of psychogenic (due to mental trauma) nature, and the main cause of this mass mental trauma were fear and depression.dance2

The two outbreaks were preceded by famine, floods, loss of crop. The horror of the supernatural drew people into a state of trance. In such an atmosphere, it was enough for one madman of woman to start, and immediately infect hundreds of people around.

Drawing on fresh evidence, John Waller’s account of the bizarre events of 1518 explains why Strasbourg’s dancing plague took place. In doing so it leads us into a largely vanished world, evoking the sights, sounds, aromas, diseases and hardships, the fervent supernaturalism, and the desperate hedonism of the late medieval world.

At the same time, the extraordinary story this book tells offers rich insights into how people behave when driven beyond the limits of endurance. Above all, this is an exploration into the strangest capabilities of the human mind and the extremes to which fear and irrationality can lead us.

Filing stressed much? Fearful of floods, tsunami, hurricane, atomic war? Shall we dance?

Beautiful. Spooky.

mogila

Artist: Peter Schipperheyn, born Melbourne Australia 1955-  Title:  “Asleep”  carved 1987  Dimensions: 460 mm in height by 2020 mm in length by 800 mm in depth [life-size figure].  Medium: Carrara Statuario Marble.  Present location: Mt Macedon Cemetery, Mt Macedon, Victoria, Australia.

This beautiful sculpture is called “Asleep” and was created by Australian sculptor Peter Shipperheyn. The marble female figure is a life-size image of the artist’s wife. It was never intended as a graveyard monument, though.mogila1Laurence Matheson, Shipperheyn’s sponsor and patron, became so enthralled with the statue of Shipperheyn’s wife that he immediately purchased and brought it home.  Matheson died in 1987, aged 56. His widow turned her husband’s favorite sculpture into his gravestone, however unusual.

Sistine Chapel Recreated

1. Miguel Francisco Macias gazes up at his replica Sistine Chapel frescoes in Mexico City

Miguel Francisco Macias gazes up at his replica Sistine Chapel frescoes in Mexico City

  • Miguel Francisco Macias self-funded the project and worked with two volunteers at Perpetuo Socorro Church
  • He wanted to recreate the art after seeing it on a visit to the Vatican City and being blown away
  • Mr Macias painted 14 large canvases with the artwork before hanging them from the roof of a Mexican church 
2. Mr Macias visited the Vatican City in 1999 and was blown away by the art on show in the Sistine Chapel and was dismayed at the thought that those back home may not ever get the chance

Mr Macias visited the Vatican City in 1999 and was blown away by the art on show in the Sistine Chapel and was dismayed at the thought that those back home may not ever get the chance to see it

It took him and his assistants 18 years to complete the project, 14 years longer than it took Michelangelo to create the original.

3. How the actual Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City looks. It was painted by artist Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512

The actual Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City. It was painted by artist Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512

6. Mr Macias and his assistants work from posters and books to recreate Michelangelo's masterpieces

Mr Macias and his assistants work from posters and books to recreate Michelangelo’s masterpieces 

Rather than paint the murals upside down like Michelangelo, Mr Macias painted them on canvas first before fixing them to the roof of the church.

5. Assistant Elizabeth Ramirez works hard sketching out one of the Michelangelo murals on to a 45-foot wide canvas

Assistant Elizabeth Ramirez works hard sketching out one of the Michelangelo murals on to a 45-foot wide canvas

4. Assistant Gustavo Moreno uses a magnifying glass to ensure that the detail is recreated on the large canvas

Assistant Gustavo Moreno uses a magnifying glass to ensure that the detail is recreated on the large canvas

Retired designer spends 18 YEARS recreating Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes – and says his look BETTER

 

Flying Over Norway

I’ve never been to Norway. Worth a trip, I’m sure. I found this video posted by one of my oft-visited Russian bloggers now living in Spain. YouTube, I checked, has an impressive number of Nature Relaxation “flying over” videos.   

Nature Relaxation™ is a premium niche video brand specializing in the production of artistically rich, ambient nature films & video.

7 HOUR 4K DRONE FILM: “Earth from Above”

 

The Thinker, the Stinker and the Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy

priseThe 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at the 28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. The ceremony was webcast.

Selected prior yeas Ig Nobels:

Happy 25th Birthday, Ig Nobel

The Thinker, the Stinker and the Farting as a Defense Against Unspeakable Dread.

The Thinker And The Stinker — Together Again

Noble 2014

This year Ig Nobels:

MEDICINE PRIZE [USA] — Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, for using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones.roller coaster.jpg

REFERENCE: “Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster,” Marc A. Mitchell, David D. Wartinger, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 116, October 2016, pp. 647-652.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Dave Wartinger

ANTHROPOLOGY PRIZE [SWEDEN, ROMANIA, DENMARK, THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, UK, INDONESIA, ITALY] — Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen, for collecting evidence, in a zoo, that chimpanzees imitate humans about as often, and about as well, as humans imitate chimpanzees.

REFERENCE: “Spontaneous Cross-Species Imitation in Interaction Between Chimpanzees and Zoo Visitors,” Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, and Elainie Madsen, Primates, vol. 59, no. 1, January 2018, pp 19–29.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Tomas Persson, Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc

BIOLOGY PRIZE [SWEDEN, COLOMBIA, GERMANY, FRANCE, SWITZERLAND] — Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall, for demonstrating that wine experts can reliably identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine.Fly in The Wine

REFERENCE: “The Scent of the Fly,” Paul G. Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Erika A. Wallin, Erik Hedenstrom, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Marie Bengtsson, Volker Jorger, and Peter Witzgall, bioRxiv, no. 20637, 2017.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Paul Becher, Sebastien Lebreton, Felipe Borrero-Echeverry, Peter Witzgall

CHEMISTRY PRIZE [PORTUGAL] — Paula Romão, Adília Alarcão and the late César Viana, for measuring the degree to which human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces.spitClean

REFERENCE: “Human Saliva as a Cleaning Agent for Dirty Surfaces,” by Paula M. S. Romão, Adília M. Alarcão and César A.N. Viana, Studies in Conservation, vol. 35, 1990, pp. 153-155.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: The winners delivered their acceptance speech via recorded video.

MEDICAL EDUCATION PRIZE [JAPAN] — Akira Horiuchi, for the medical report “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.”colonoscopy

REFERENCE: “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy by Using a Small-Caliber, Variable-Stiffness Colonoscope,” Akira Horiuchi and Yoshiko Nakayama, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, vol. 63, No. 1, 2006, pp. 119-20.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Akira Horiuchi

LITERATURE PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, EL SALVADOR, UK] — Thea Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson, for documenting that most people who use complicated products do not read the instruction manual.instructions

REFERENCE: “Life Is Too Short to RTFM: How Users Relate to Documentation and Excess Features in Consumer Products,” Alethea L. Blackler, Rafael Gomez, Vesna Popovic and M. Helen Thompson, Interacting With Computers, vol. 28, no. 1, 2014, pp. 27-46.

WHO PLANS TO ATTEND THE CEREMONY: Thea Blackler

NUTRITION PRIZE [ZIMBABWE, TANZANIA, UK] — James Cole, for calculating that the caloric intake from a human-cannibalism diet is significantly lower than the caloric intake from most other traditional meat diets.cannibals

REFERENCE: “Assessing the Calorific Significance of Episodes of Human Cannibalism in the Paleolithic,” James Cole, Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 44707, April 7, 2017.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: James Cole

PEACE PRIZE [SPAIN, COLOMBIA] — Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge, Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Jaime Sanmartín, Constanza Calatayud, and Beatriz Alamar, for measuring the frequency, motivation, and effects of shouting and cursing while driving an automobile.road rage

REFERENCE: “Shouting and Cursing While Driving: Frequency, Reasons, Perceived Risk and Punishment,” Francisco Alonso, Cristina Esteban, Andrea Serge and Maria-Luisa Ballestar, Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, vol. 1, no. 12017, pp. 1-7.

REFERENCE: “La Justicia en el Tráfico: Conocimiento y Valoración de la Población Española” [“Justice in Traffic: Knowledge and Valuation of the Spanish Population”)], F. Alonso, J. Sanmartín, C. Calatayud, C. Esteban, B. Alamar, and M. L. Ballestar, Cuadernos de Reflexión Attitudes, 2005.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Francisco Alonso

REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE PRIZE [USA, JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA, EGYPT, INDIA, BANGLADESH] — John Barry, Bruce Blank, and Michel Boileau, for using postage stamps to test whether the male sexual organ is functioning properly—as described in their study “Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps.”SelkieStamp

REFERENCE: “Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps,” John M. Barry, Bruce Blank, Michael Boileau, Urology, vol. 15, 1980, pp. 171-172.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: John M. Barry, Bruce Blank, Michel Boileau

ECONOMICS PRIZE [CANADA, CHINA, SINGAPORE, USA] — Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa Keeping, for investigating whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses.Conceptual photo of love magic. Composition with skull, voodoo doll, dried herbs and candle on  dark wooden background

REFERENCE: “Righting a Wrong: Retaliation on a Voodoo Doll Symbolizing an Abusive Supervisor Restores Justice,” Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping, The Leadership Quarterly, February 2018.

WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping